FAI Cup Final Report: Dundalk 1 - 1 Shamrock Rovers (Shamrock Rovers win 4-2 on penalties)Sun, Nov 03 2019
Niall Newberry reports from the Aviva Stadium
Shamrock Rovers lifted the FAI Cup trophy for the first time in 32 years following a dramatic final which saw them beat Dundalk on a penalty shoot-out after playing out a 1-1 draw.
The Hoops thought they had won the game in 90 minutes when Aaron McEneff converted a penalty late on before Michael Duffy equalised deep into stoppage-time.
However, the Tallaght outfit got their hands on the elusive silverware after recording a 4-2 win on penalties at the Aviva Stadium.
With influential midfielder Chris Shields suspended, head coach Vinny Perth had some big calls to make, but he opted for Sean Hoare to slot into midfield alongside Robbie Benson in Shields’ absence.
The in-form Daniel Kelly dropping to the substitutes bench was also seen as another huge decision from Perth, while his counterpart Stephen Bradley surprised absolutely nobody with his starting XI.
A cagey opening five minutes preceded the game’s first shot when Sean Murray rifled a low shot well wide of the target after being fed by Sean Gannon’s incisive long pass from the right flank.
Shamrock Rovers forward Aaron Greene caused the Dundalk defence some considerable problems in the first half and he was allowed to take the ball a long, long way before his low drive went wide.
The first big chance of this FAI Cup final came on 13 minutes when Jack Byrne sent a beautiful ball into Greene, who controlled brilliantly before directing his shot inches wide of Gary Rogers’ post.
Greene was again proving to be a menace when he dispossessed the much too casual Daniel Cleary before crossing for Ronan Finn, but the Rovers captain saw his back-heeled effort go off target.
Graham Burke was next to try his luck when his low drive was easily gathered by Rogers before at the other end, Dane Massey sent a free-kick from a dangerous position well over the crossbar.
After what was a thoroughly dominant first half-an-hour from Rovers, the Lilywhites began to settle.
Murray’s floated corner from the left was met by a free header by Brian Gartland, but former Northern Ireland international Alan Mannus did well to keep out the Dundalk captain’s attempt.
Then right on the stroke of half-time, Murray again whipped in a beautiful set-piece and Cleary rose above the Rovers defence before heading just wide as the teams went in at the break on level terms.
Rovers started the second period brightly and successive counter-attacks allowed Burke to have two attempts with the first straight at Rogers before the Rovers man blazed over the top minutes later.
Dundalk had a brilliant chance to break the deadlock on 57 minutes when Gannon’s whipped cross was laid off by Patrick Hoban and into the path of Murray, who forced a good save from Mannus.
Then after some good work from substitute Daniel Kelly and Hoban out on the right side, Gannon’s scuffed cross somehow found its way to Jamie McGrath, but he subsequently turned his effort wide.
At the other end, Finn’s pass found Burke and he did well to get away from Cleary before forcing a phenomenal fingertip save out of Rogers and much to the Hoops’ dismay, no corner was awarded.
There was late, late drama when Burke got away from a few Dundalk defenders before slipping the ball into Greene, who was fouled by Rogers as referee Derek Tomney pointed to the penalty spot.
And up stepped Aaron McEneff in the 90th minute to send the Dundalk goalkeeper the wrong way.
Rovers thought they had won it, but deep into stoppage-time, Hoban’s punt was headed on by Georgie Kelly before Duffy turned to power a volley past the helpless Mannus as extra-time ensued.
Both sides looked ragged throughout the extra-time period with the only real chance coming in the 120th minute when Georgie Kelly’s close-range attempt was well saved by the feet of Mannus.
That was the last meaningful effort as the FAI Cup final once again headed for a penalty shoot-out.
Jack Byrne, Joey O’Brien, Greg Bolger and Gary O’Neill all dispatched for Rovers, while Michael Duffy and Daniel Cleary were unsuccessful as the Hoops lifted the FAI Cup for the first time in 32 years.
Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Daniel Cleary, Dane Massey; Sean Hoare (Georgie Kelly 90+1), Robbie Benson (John Mountney 112); Jamie McGrath, Sean Murray (Daniel Kelly 61), Michael Duffy; Patrick Hoban (Jordan Flores 100).
Subs not used: Aaron McCarey, Dean Jarvis, Andy Boyle.
Booked: Sean Hoare (72), Gary Rogers (89), Patrick Hoban (94), John Mountney (105+1).
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Ronan Finn, Joey O’Brien, Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace, Sean Kavanagh (Neil Farrugia 68); Aaron McEneff, Gary O’Neill; Jack Byrne, Aaron Greene (Daniel Lafferty 112), Graham Burke (Greg Bolger 90+3).
Subs not used: Kian Clarke, Dylan Watts, Brandon Kavanagh, Thomas Oluwa.
Booked: Graham Burke (71), Jack Byrne (103), Joey O’Brien (105+1).
Referee: Derek Tomney.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Graham Burke (Shamrock Rovers).